JOPLIN, Mo. — Two area ministries that care for the poor are working together for the benefit of their clientele. But both will be changing their addresses in the process.
Art Jones founded Souls Harbor on Main Street in Joplin 40 years ago because there wasn’t anywhere for the homeless to go.
The ministry is currently located in two different buildings, a block away from each other. The chapel, food pantry, free clothing store and administrative offices are in the 800 block, with the housing unit, where men women and children sleep in the 900 block.
But that will change when the entire ministry settles into one facility at 415 Junge.
“We’re pretty excited about all being in the same place, we can work better as one unit, it just is going to be tremendous, it’s just going to be tremendous, not to mention the financial benefits, uh being able to have a little bit less staffing, having half the utilities that we’ve been having, um it’s all going to be a great benefit to us financially,” said Dianna Gurley, Exec. Dir., Souls Harbor.
While some current residents are single, others have families. And that’s who Gurley says will benefit most after the move is complete.
“We’ll, at this point, have an entire section that’s designated just to families just so we can keep the fathers with the mothers and for the kids, that’s going to be huge because at this point, the fathers right now have to go downstairs to the men’s dorm to sleep because that’s a women’s dorm,” she said.
“Then we have to go figure out how to do if they have jobs, or they’ve gotten jobs now and it’s like mom has a job but dad needs to stay with the kids, can he go upstairs, we figure it out,” said Daniel Gurley, Souls Harbor Shelter Director.
The new property was the site of a roofing company, but has been the location for another ministry since January called “The Next Step.” Josh Shackels is it’s director, and has used it to provide shelter during last winter’s coldest nights for people who had no other housing options.
“The primary purpose of “The Next Step” is to help connect people with the resources that already exist in our community,” said Shackles.
His organization will continue to operate, but will eventual need to find a new location once Souls Harbor takes possession of the 2,600 square foot property.
“Every one of the existing buildings on this campus will undergo major renovation,” said KSN’s Stuart Price, Reporting.
Gurley says the new property will will also require new zoning and could be ready for occupancy as early as this time next year.